Improve your posture with Nekoze

Everyday, many of us spend hours sitting on a chair staring at a screen, be it at work or at home. The average Briton now spends more than 20 hours a day sitting down. In fact, spending more than 6 hours a day sitting can increase your risk of heart attack by more than 50%.

Now I could list a bunch of statistics from surveys and experiments that may or may not be soundly executed, or scare you with how bad sitting posture can misallign bones and cause serious muscle ache, but I’m not going to do that. Why? Because I’m not a f*cking doctor and don’t know enough about the subject to question those claims, that’s why (and for those who do know what about the topic, please share your insights in the comments).

Regardless, evidence for good posture leading to a healthier lifestyle does exist, so for those of you who want to better themselves, you should get ergonomic chairs, or a standing desk perhaps. If you can’t afford that, you may as well give Nekoze a shot (it’s free!).

Nekoze

Nekoze is a lightweight menubar item of a f*cking cat, which may suck if you hate cats. Otherwise, you’re in luck, because you now have a cat that will piss you off everytime you f*ck up and start slouching, which is good.

By identifying a straight posture when setting up, Nekoze uses your webcam to monitor your posture. If you start to slouch, it will meow at you. What a nightmare. You want this cat to stop meowing at you, right? So sit the f*ck up and it will. What a great cat. Keep on slouching, and it will show an on-screen alert of it being pissed off at you.

Now for those of you who are thinking, this is bullsh*t, I don’t want a cat telling me what to do – too bad, suck it up, it’s for your own good. If you insist on being a wimp about it, you can adjust the settings of how harsh it is on you, and how often it gets pissy.

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You can also disable the sound if you have coworkers frowning at you every time your computer meows. Not such a bad cat after all.

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Download Nekoze for free here.

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Vecte: A more beautiful application switcher

Hitting command (⌘) + Tab brings up the native app switcher, allowing you to switch through your open applications by hitting tab.

Vecte is a lightweight application that beautifies the function, discretely displaying the application list from the corner of your screen, rather than from the native center overlay.

Just install and use, no setting up necessary!

Download Vecte here.

How to browse the web anonymously and protect your information

Privacy and protecting one’s data has become a recurring theme in the news lately, and people have become more paranoid about preventing their information from being misused by fraudsters or shady organizations.

Simplest way to go about this is by going to your browser and entering private browsing mode (Safari) or incognito (Chrome). When enabled, any actions in that browser window won’t store any information or store any cookies.

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For the more paranoid, there’s Tor, a browser bundle that protects your applications that connect to the internet, based on the preset of configuration. Using the Tor browser itself will be the best way to utilize the bundle’s features – personally I won’t be making the switch away from Safari, but for those interested, the option exists.

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Download Tor here.

 

How to: Sync Messages on your Mac with your iOS device

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There are a surprising amount of people who have an iPhone as well as a Mac, and they don’t even know that Messages can be synced to your Mac. It’s probably one of the best features of Messages on Mac, it’s significantly easier to respond to messages from your computer, over touch typing on your device.

So, instead of having to type out messages on your phone, you can use your computer when you have it on you, and save yourself a nice amount of time by typing on a real keyboard.

Step 1: Go to your Applications folder, and launch Messages.

Step 2: You know the drill here, open the Messages preferences.

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Step 3: Check that your Apple ID is signed in and enabled for the application. Tick off the boxes for the contact points you want to be reached for (the phone number and/or email that is associated with your Apple ID. You can also specify where you want the messages to be sent from when starting a conversation from your computer (for instance, I use my email address as my sending point for my computer, as opposed to my phone number from my iPhone).

All done! Don’t forget, you can adjust your notification settings for Messages in System Preferences, if the pop up banners bother you.

Forget about memorizing keyboard shortcuts

CheatSheet app

One of the last posts I wrote on this blog, in 2008, was about using your keyboard only to operate your mac.

But that sort of stuff isn’t for everyone. Ane between 2008 and now, with the AppStore bigger than ever, we’re always using new apps, and it’s tough to remember what all the keyboard shorcuts are for those apps.

Enter CheatSheet. Very lightweight, just install, and hold the command (⌘) key for a few seconds to have a window overlay pop up, listing all the active shortcuts for the application being used.

Download it here.

You spent a lot on your device. Time to cover your bases with Prey.

Prey App

You shelled out hundreds on your iOS device, or thousands on your MacBook, you’re being unreasonable if you don’t install this.

Prey is a small system application that takes no time to install and set up an account. In the event your device ever gets stolen, you can login online at the Prey website, and use various tools to track and locate the culprit.

When enabled, it will attempt to connect to any available Wifi network when no internet connection is detected, and locate the device using GPS or Wifi triangulation. You will also be able to delete sensitive data such as stored passwords, and can choose to lock your device.

Best of all, Prey can take screenshots of every session the thief starts on your device, and even take pictures of the thief using the webcam. I won’t even get into the fun to be had using the picture of someone who just stole from you.

Download the app now here. And don’t procrastinate on this one.

Suck it thieves.

Quickly get word definitions

Gone are the days for searching word definitions, now, all you have to do is select the word you want a definition for (be it on Safari or any application that allows you to display and select text), and just 3-finger tap it on your trackpad.

For those who like using their keyboard a lot over the mouse, I highly recommend one of my favourite productivity- boosting applications, Alfred, where you can simply type ‘define ______’.

Remove Dock Delay

For those of you with the auto-hide feature enabled for their dock, here’s a tip found via AddictiveTips, that allows you to remove the delay time.

Just copy this code into terminal and hit enter

defaults write com.apple.Dock autohide-delay -float 0

killall Dock

and there you have it, 0 delay time for dock pop-up when you mouse over at the bottom of your screen!

To revert back to the previous setting, just enter this code into terminal and hit enter again

defaults delete com.apple.Dock autohide-delay

killall Dock

Quickly insert foreign characters

Here’s a small tip for quickly adding in foreign characters while typing, such as é, or ä.

All you have to do is hold the letter you want with whichever foreign accent it is you’re looking for, and a pop-up window will appear above it with all the options available, where you can click on the one you want using your mouse, or use the corresponding number key as a shortcut.

No but seriously, who ate all the crêpes?

Desktop Notifications for Facebook

Desktop Notifications is an experimental tool built by a Facebook engineer. It provides a discrete menubar icon that turns blue when you have a new notification, and allows you to see your past notifications, inbox, as well as providing direct links to updating your status, and reaching your news feed and profile.

The application integrates with Growl, allowing small notification bubbles to pop up when activity you’ve chosen to be notified for has occurred on your Facebook. Clean and lightweight, this application is handy if you want to always know what’s going on with your Facebook, not so much if you can’t afford to waste time on social networking.

Download Desktop Notifications here.